In Mexico, nothing says fall like the first time I see pan de muerto, or dead bread, in the stores. Whenever I see those little buns, I want to buy up as many as I can possibly carry in order to enjoy them throughout the month. Never mind that I can continue to buy them throughout November. As they're one of my favorite seasonal items, I'm always afraid they'll be rushed off the shelves before I have time to restock.
Pan de muerto is made to help celebrate the Day of the Dead on the 2ed of November. The bread is often available beginning in October. I'm hoping that they'll continue to sell it throughout November. When families make altars in their homes to honor deceased loved ones, pan de muerto is often featured prominently on these altars.
Pan de muerto is a sweet bread with an odd flavor I always found hard to identify. I always described the flavor as that of flowers, and in my head I associated the flower flavor with marigolds, which are considered flowers for the dead. Tasting one this morning, my mother described the odd flavor as light orange, which is probably more correct, but a lot less poetic.
And now I'm off, to buy up some more Dead Bread. For those of you in Ft. Wayne, the Indiana Mexican Bakery on Wells Street makes some excellent pan de muerto. Incorporate it into your Halloween traditions!